Thursday, March 05, 2015

Whose Voice Do We Hear?: Talking about God

This is about hearing God's voice.

Have you ever watched the sitcom Frazier and tried to guess what well-known people are playing his radio show callers?  “I’m listening,” psychiatrist Dr. Crane says, and I listen tooeven if it means lifting my head from my smartphone. 

Sometimes I know the people and can tell who they are from their distinctive voices, speech patterns, or accents. I listen hard to be sure I am correct and get confirmation later from the show's credit roll. 

Other times I can’t even guess who the callers are because I don't know them. I don't try so hard to listen to them. Later when the credits roll, though, I might say, "Oh, so that's who that was! Maybe if I had listened harder, I would have known."

A TV commercial features a man who sounds like Earl Hamner Jr., the author of the novels that inspired The Waltons. Mr. Hamner also served as the narrator for that TV show, and I know who he is. I know his voice. When I heard the commercial from another room, I went to the TV expecting to see him (yes, at 91 years of age!). But the guy talking was someone else, someone I didn’t know. He just sounded like Earl. Good thing I checked before I said to anyone, "Can you believe the Waltons guy is on that commercial?" 

Then there's God. I think I am saying to Him, "I'm listening." But am I really? And if not, why not? Is it because I don't quite recognize His voice, at least not so well that I listen hard? 

And how foolish do I feel later when I realize I missed out on what God had to say?

Or I think I am hearing from God (or know by His silence what's what), and think, "Yay me for listening." But instead I am listening to a deceiver or my own plans and desires that come unbidden like a commercial with a voice that sounds like an old friend.

Shouldn't I want to know I am not being fooled?

Here is a verse we Christians so often pluck out of the Bible, all by itself, because, I think, we do want to know God's voice apart from any other. We do want to be sure we are not fooled. We want to know that in our listening the voice we hear belongs to the one true God.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

Be still . . . and know. Then hear . . . and listen. 

Let's try that. Now, whose voice do we hear?


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